Bombing pause is not a cease fire

Jerusalem Post:

After declaring a 48-hour suspension of aerial strikes over Lebanon in wake of the Kana attack, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel would expand and strengthen its ground operations in southern Lebanon.

"Under no circumstance will there be an unconditional and immediate cease-fire. There is no change in our resolve," Peretz told the Knesset plenum which convened for a special recess session to discuss the war in Lebanon.

According to the defense minister, the IDF managed to severely hamper Hizbullah's long-range missile capability.

He stressed that the prime goal was to bring the kidnapped IDF soldiers home.

Peretz stressed that the humanitarian gestures will not harm the goals of the operation.

"I know how difficult it is to talk about morality after the tragic deaths at Kana. I know it is difficult to talk about humanitarian aid when we see on television hundreds of thousands of evacuees. But let us not forget who caused this - Hizbullah," Peretz said.

Arab MKs Ibrahim Sarsur and Talab el-Sana (Ra'am-Ta'al) were removed from the plenum for heckling Peretz. MK Sarsur called the minister a "war criminal."

Senior officers in the northern command criticized the decision, claiming it hurt the momentum that ground forces had achieved against Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.

The officers said the decision had taken them by "complete surprise." Some noted that they first heard of the suspension by journalists.

Justice Minister Haim Ramon said that despite the decision to suspend the air campaign, the war in Lebanon has not ended. "If the war ends today, it would be a victory for Hizbullah and global terrorism and would have far reaching consequences," he told Army Radio.

"I'm convinced that we won't finish this war until it's clear that Hizbullah has no more abilities to attack Israel from south Lebanon. This is what we are striving for," he said.

...

Haaretz also says that this is no cease fire.

A senior government source said Monday morning that despite a 48-hour halt in Israel Air Force activity in Lebanon, "there is no cease-fire."

The suspension of aerial activity was announced in the wake of an IAF strike on a building in southern Lebanon killed 56 people, among them 37 children.

The government source said that the IAF had been told to continue acting against "targets that present a threat to Israel and its troops, including rocket launchers, vehicles transporting ammunition, Hezbollah fighters, weapons stores and Hezbollah assets."

The term "Hezbollah assets" refers to people identified with the organization, including those who do not pose an immediate threat. "If they are identified with Hassan Nasrallah, we will hit them," the source said.

Regarding the instructions to the IAF, the source said, however, "there will be no attacks on buildings that had not been identified" as part of efforts to strike Israel, and held, for example, ammunition, Hezbollah fighters or their commanders."

...
This sounds like a very restricted bombing halt that will allow the continuing targeting of launchers and Hezballah forces including Nasrallah. I suspect taht the UN will continue to caterwall about this limited campaign. Hopefully the US will continue to resist efforts to stop the war and give the French, Russians and Chinese a little of their own slow role medicine at the UN.

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